Fantasy Take: Quenneville Out as Panthers Coach

Ian Gooding

2021-10-29

After meeting with Gary Bettman earlier in the day, Joel Quenneville has resigned as head coach of the Florida Panthers. Andrew Brunette will take over as the interim head coach.

With news surfacing about Quenneville's inaction to Kyle Beach's report of sexual assault during the 2010 playoffs when both were in the Blackhawks organization, as well as Quenneville's attempts to cover up the incident afterward, it became apparent that he could no longer continue serving as the Panthers' head coach. Allowing Quenneville to continue as Florida's coach would have been disastrous from a public relations perspective for both the team and the league.

The real-life hockey and fantasy hockey implications of this coaching change are obviously less important than how sexual assault has affected Beach and other victims of Chicago's former video coach Brad Aldrich, as well as society in general. Hopefully the lesson is learned to the hockey community as to how critical it is to keep the game safe for everyone, and to prioritize the health and safety of everyone involved over winning at all costs. With the sensitive nature of this topic, these points need to be emphasized.

From a hockey perspective, teams don't normally make coaching changes when they are at the top of the standings. At 7-0-0, that's where the Panthers sit. It seems unlikely that Brunette, who served as an assistant under Quenneville, will make drastic changes to a team that is already considered a Stanley Cup favorite, nor are many changes needed. Brunette does not have any NHL head coaching experience and may only be a placeholder until a more experienced head coach is hired, so it may not be worth speculating on how his hiring affects Panthers players.

John Tortorella is rumored to be a candidate for this head coaching position, but there are numerous other experienced head coaches that are also available. If Tortorella is hired, it's worth mentioning that he worked with Panthers GM Bill Zito in Columbus and also coached Sergei Bobrovsky, Anthony Duclair, and Markus Nutivaara there. Since he has not officially been hired, we probably shouldn't expand on how a Tortorella hiring would affect the Panthers. But since Torts is a notoriously defensive-minded coach, and because he's butted heads with Bobrovsky and Duclair in particular, you can start to draw your own conclusions. For what it's worth, Torts recently told ESPN that he believes that Aleksander Bar